Many young people don’t understand age-related fertility decline

Submitted by Shelby D Burns Tue 11/26/2013
Couple Young people around the world are putting off having children, waiting until later in life. This is in spite of the fact that fertility declines exponentially with age after young adulthood – for both men and women. In addition to that, the risk of birth defects and other neurological challenges like ADHD and autism increases with age and those conditions may be linked in some way to older parents. For many young people who simply do not know better, there is a pervasive belief that success with in vitro fertilization is ensured. New research shows a simple brochure could help educate people and prompt many to accelerate their schedules for creating a family.

The online brochure works … a little

College students who participated in the study originally planned to have their first child at 29 years old and their last at 34 years old. After viewing an online brochure about age-related fertility decline and in-vitro fertilization success rates, researchers found that college students shifted their schedule to one year earlier.

A little knowledge goes a long way

“This study suggests that many people may be delaying having children without fully understanding fertility decline, and with unrealistically optimistic views of the ‘safety net’ provided by reproductive technology,” explained Thompson, who went to Dartmouth after conducting the study with Aleena Wojcieszek at the University of Queensland in Australia. “Increasing awareness of fertility issues, even though simple tools is essential for ensuring young women and men can make informed reproductive decisions and could ultimately have a big impact on society.”

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